Can Catholics with same-sex attraction become saints?

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same-sex attraction
People pray during the closing Mass for the Outreach LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Conference at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City in 2023. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Question: Given that the single, celibate life is not considered a vocation, how is it possible for a Catholic with same-sex attraction to become a saint or contribute to the Church in a meaningful way, since the Church prohibits him or her from having a vocation (be it marriage, priesthood/diaconate or religious life)? Thank you and God bless. 

C.J., via email

Answer: Many differ with your premise that the single, celibate life is not a vocation. However, many would generally agree that it is not a vocation, at least in the formal sense of the word “vocation.” Why is this so? In the vocations of holy matrimony, religious life and/or priesthood, one enters into those states by formal vows, and permanently. They are also under the authority of another, or are surely accountable to another (in the case of spouses). As such, they are generally restricted to a particular place and ministry or purpose. With those in the single life, none of this is required. There are no vows, there is no life-long commitment to staying single if and when a potential spouse comes along. Single people are also free to come and go and are not accountable to others for their whereabouts, etc. While a boss may have limited authority during work time, the single person is still free to end that by quitting one job and taking another. 

But your question remains. Any single person can contribute to the life of the Church or, in some cases, to the community by what he or she does and how he or she witnesses to the truth of the Gospel. It is often the case that one who is not married is free from many of the duties tied to marriage and parenthood. As such, he or she can be freer to assist in parish life or other ministerial, charitable and missionary activities. Likewise, since he or she lives in a continent (celibate-like) state, he or she can also witness to the truth of the Gospel and the eminent virtue of chastity. This is the case for all who are single, including those with same-sex attraction. It is a saintly and often heroically-virtuous witness in times like these not to succumb to the erroneous sexual trends of our times. Indeed, heroic witness to the truth is at the heart of sainthood!

Msgr. Charles Pope

Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. at Send questions to